Tag Archives: green energy

Climate Change and the “Green” Light District

by Whitney Pitcher

green pig

“It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first.” – President Ronald Reagan

Last week, Democratic Congresswoman Barbara Lee and others passed a resolution stating that climate change disproportionately affects women and may drive them to engage in “transactional sex” (i.e. prostitution). There is a nugget of truth in Lee’s ridiculous resolution. Climate change itself may not drive women to prostitution, but the farce of climate change has driven some men (and probably some women as well) to essentially engage in political prostitution.

Yesterday, a Bloomberg article noted that Al Gore is now worth upwards of $200 million. Gore has derived his wealth from several avenues, but many of these are tied to his peddling of green Henny Penny nonsense. The Bloomberg article notes that Al Gore’s film, “An Inconvenient Truth”, led to speaker’s fees of around $175,000 a pop. Additionally, as has been often noted, Gore’s sale of Current TV to Al-Jazeera netted him $100 million by itself. Gore also has his hand in green investing, which has ultimately padded his own pocketbook. In 2004, Gore joined with former Goldman Sachs managing director David W. Blood to form Generation Investment Management (GIM), as Bloomberg notes (emphasis added):

By the time of the Capricorn investment, he was already starting to rake in cash from Generation Investment Management – – a fund that incorporates “sustainability” into its investment approach. Gore co-founded GIM in 2004 with former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Managing Director David W. Blood.

Public filings show that in 2008 through 2011 London-based GIM racked up almost 140 million pounds ($218 million) in profits to be split among its 26 partners. Gore and Blood as founders are thought to have the largest equity stakes.

Not of all of Gore’s investments have been successful though. GIM later partnered with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers on “green” investments. Kleiner Perkins backed Fisker, an electric car company, which received more than half a billion dollars in government loans in 2009 only to lay off about 75% of its staff last month. When Gore’s “investments” have been unsuccessful, often its the American taxpayer–non-consenting investors–who lose.

The American people became non-consenting investment partners in billion of dollars of Department of Energy grants and loans from President Obama’s 2009 stimulus package and other efforts over the last few years. Roughly 80% of those DOE loans went to companies tied to President Obama’s donors. The Obama administration has invested hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars in biofuels for the US Navy. A biofuel company that received a more than a half a billion contract, Solazyme, has ties to former Obama adviser and donor, T.J. Glauthier. Solazyme’s contract is equivalent to $16 a gallon for fuel, about four times as high as traditional fuels. Even as the Navy’s budget is being cut by sequestration, they are continuing to make this expensive type of fuel a priority.

At best, climate change and its cause are unproven. Some cite a summer of higher temperatures as proof of climate change. Others say that man-created pollution may be the cause of a cooler spring. Even if anthropogenic climate change was true, the methods of mitigating its effects are unhelpful. Electric cars are often charged by coal powered electricity and are prone to catch on fire (more carbon emissions!). Biofuels, like wood and grain-based ethanol and algae based fuels, have proven to be inefficient in both their production and their consumption. All this “green” light district business does is fill the bank accounts of the politically connected at the expense of the American taxpayer…and proves President Reagan right once again.



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Green Energy: Learning from Recent European History to Re-Embrace Our American Philosophy

solar obama

by Whitney Pitcher

A post at Reason  on Tuesday noted the failings of green energy subsidies in Europe, highlighting the fact that Spain passed a law this month cutting subsidies to green energy companies. The Reuters article detailing the subsidy cuts notes a basic economic truth about the relationship between costs and prices:

Foreign investors poured money into Spanish wind and solar projects, drawn to generous subsidies during a decade-long economic boom that helped the country to become one of the biggest markets for investments in green energy.

The problem was that the cost of the subsidies were not passed on fully to consumers because that would have pushed prices to unprecedented highs.

Price may be what a consumer pays, but it isn’t necessarily the true cost of the product. Central planners often prey on the fact that citizens often do not distinguish between cost and price. Subsidies eventually cause a product to collapse under its own weight of its own cost. Over a decade ago, Thomas Sowell wrote an essay about the difference between cost and price in reference to health care. He notes:

 When politicians talk about “bringing down the cost of health care” they do not mean that they have found a way to produce the same health benefits with less medicine or less time spent by doctors treating patients.  They mean that they have some scheme for preventing these costs from being charged directly to the patient.

If these politicians were really going to bring down the cost of health care, they would have to do such things as stop so many medical resources from being diverted to enriching lawyers who win bogus lawsuits against doctors, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies. They would have to stop giving blanket subsidies to people who waste doctors’ time with trivial ailments that they would ask their local pharmacist about if they had to pay a doctor out of their own pockets.

The same principles apply to energy costs and prices. Governor Palin warned of Spain’s energy subsidy crisis nearly two years ago in a speech in India when she noted:

 So as government locks up land & we lose good jobs in the ‘Conventional Resource’ arena, you may hear that “green jobs” will be the saviour! But look around the world & try telling that to the thousands of English & Scottish workers who’ve lost jobs as a result of government investments in “green energy” projects. A recent UK study shows that for every “green job” created, nearly four jobs were lost elsewhere in the economy due to lack of affordable energy! Same story in Spain – investment in “green jobs” brought massive debt, skyrocketing energy costs & unemployment.

This push for ‘green’ at the expense of ‘conventional, reliable’ sources is not a credible energy policy or economic policy. It’s “Social Engineering” by Central Government Planners. And it leads to nothing but more debt & more job loss. And taxpayers will be stuck subsidizing the failure and paying more for energy.

Despite the lesson that Europe has taught America and that Governor Palin warned of two years ago, President Obama continued to push for more green energy subsidies in his recent State of the Union address, claiming that the price of solar energy has gone down. This may be the case relatively speaking, but even with those additional subsidies, solar energy will still more much more expensive that coal, nuclear and other more traditional sources of energy, and that’s according to the President’s own Energy Information Administration.  Even solar companies themselves are turning down subsidies from the government. In 2011, the world’s largest solar company, Solar Trust, turned down a more than $2 billion loan guarantee from the US government because it would be too risky. That company went bankrupt in 2012, even though the Obama administration fast tracked their land permits for energy development.

Margaret Thatcher once said that Europe was built on history and America was built on philosophy. She is right. Our leaders would do well to learn from Europe’s recent “green history” by eschewing the green socialism and corporatism of Europe and embracing again the pro market philosophy that founded this great nation by engaging in unsubsidized development of proven resources and sound policies that protect our future.

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What Both Parties Can Learn from Sheryl Crow

by Whitney Pitcher

There is probably very little that Sheryl “one square” Crow and I agree on politically, but I’ve always enjoyed her music. In 1995, she wrote a song called “Leaving Las Vegas” for a film by the same name.

Neither the song nor the film really have anything to do with gambling nor politics, but the song’s theme of leaving Las Vegas is one that both political parties should learn from, metaphorically speaking–leave behind the practice of betting with the American taxpayers’ money.

Today, President Obama launched a two day bus tour with the theme of “Betting on America” touting his support of the auto bailout and slamming Mitt Romney’s business record. This is an interesting messaging approach for a man who has twice slammed people for spending time and money in Las Vegas. While President Obama tries to tout a message of supporting the American worker (betting on America), he has actually been betting with American taxpayer money throughout his presidency. He has attempted to pick winners and losers, such as in the infamous Solyndra loan where one of his donors won a more than half billion dollar green loan and the American taxpayer ultimately lost big time. He has invested millions in biofuels, again in a company with ties to one his cronies,  for the military at cost that is 4 times the average cost for the fuel in a normal market.

However, President Obama and the Democrats are not the only ones who have been involved in picking winners and losers at the taxpayer’s expense. Republicans are also culpable, as a piece in the Washington Examiner notes of green energy loans:

George W. Bush and Barack Obama have also tried to boost wind and solar power with government money. The 2007 energy bill created a loan guarantee program in the Department of Energy, and Obama’s 2009 stimulus expanded the program, ultimately putting Solyndra’s losses and other green energy busts on the taxpayers’ back.

This kind of behavior is not limited to only green energy loans. It extend to other kinds of loans–even loans to companies like Boeing. The Obama administration has demonized Boeing for wanting to build a plant in a right-to-work state and has denounced the use of corporate jets–which Boeing produces. Even still, he has allowed for the American taxpayers to be the guarantor of loans of to companies like Boeing when he signed the re-authorization, supported by both Republicans and Democrats, of the Export Import Bank. The Washington Examiner again notes:

Obama plans to use the Export-Import Bank — a federal agency that gives taxpayer-backed loans and loan guarantees to foreign buyers who buy American goods — to subsidize U.S. manufacturers even when they are selling to other American companies. 

This would be a significant step in the federal government’s transformation into a venture capital firm and investment bank involved in all corners of the economy. It’s private profit and public risk. Conservative Sen. Jim DeMint calls it “venture socialism.” 

Ex-Im has been financing exports for decades. Taxpayer-backed loan guarantees push down interest rates for foreign buyers, thus greasing the wheels for U.S. manufacturers and eliminating risk for U.S. banks.

These loans are perhaps less risky than the “green” energy loans of the Department of Energy, but nonetheless, as the article states, they are ” public risk”. If the companies default, it’s at the expense of the American taxpayer.

This is why it is important to make the distinction between big government, pro business, and pro market approaches to handling the economy. This is something that Governor Palin understands very well– both in  how the government should handle green energy and  the economy as a whole. Regarding government investments in green energy, Governor Palin noted in an interview with Breitbart.com (emphasis mine):

Yes, for the private sector. I don’t think there is anything wrong with setting goals for alternative energy, but we have to be realistic. A truly effective alternative energy source needs to be efficient and profitable. No amount of Obama’s subsidizing his campaign donors’ bankrupt green energy companies—some with harebrained ideas that will never be economic—will get us to that efficient and profitable alternative. The free market will determine this. Sure, we can support research and development when it’s appropriate, but as scientists and venture capitalists continue to look for viable alternative energy sources, we should be encouraging the development of natural gas as a clean and plentiful bridge-fuel to a more renewable future. We have enough natural gas in America to be energy independent for many decades!

This is a pro-market approach to green energy, and it should be applied to all aspects of the economy. No more betting with the American people’s money. I wrote in a previous post about Governor Palin’s pro-market approach to the economy:

The big government views of the Left and the “pro business” views espoused by many in the GOP think that government exists to do things for the people or for businesses. Governor Palin is pro market. Who is empowered in a pro market economy? The consumers (the people). The people determine whether or not a business fails or succeeds by their purchasing power–not by the special loans of the big government Left or the special tax breaks of the pro-business GOPers, but of the the Galileoan pro-marketers. 

This is what makes Governor Palin’s speech in Iowa late last summer so compelling. She laid out a vision of a pro market economy–no corporate taxes, but no corporate welfare, no special tax breaks or subsidies either. In other words, let the people decide what business fail or succeed by their purchasing power. Also, as Governor Palin wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, echoing Peter Schweizer’s book Throw Them All Out,  let there be no more crony capitalism and no more special treatment of politicians.

Both parties need to stop trying to do things for their cronies and stop doing things to the American taxpayer.    The economy is not a giant casino with green energy slots or big business roulette tables, and the taxpayers should not have to finance the government’s addiction to OPM  (other people’s money) and gambling. The need to leave this “Las Vegas” behavior behind. Otherwise, the voters will continue having to choose which party is their favorite mistake, rather than the party that stands with them.

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Biohybrid Spinach: Sure Beats Actual Energy Solutions

By Gary P Jackson

Spinach is a super-food, for sure, but now the Environmental Protection Agency is sending out money we don’t have to a group at Vanderbilt University who are looking to substitute the green leafy plant for the silicone wafers currently used to convert the sun’s rays into electrical energy.

EPA Grant Number SU836022, Titled Don’t Eat Your Spinach: Nature Inspired Biohybrid Solar Cells was given to Vanderbilt in August of 2011:


The development of a secure energy future requires unique approaches to classical problems. Recent work has sparked interest in the development of photovoltaic cells which utilize the largest solar energy conversion process on the planet, photosynthesis, as a means of producing electrical energy.

The lab of Dr. Kane Jennings of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Vanderbilt University has developed a method for employing Photosystem I (PSI), a photoactive protein present in plants and some bacteria, in solar cells.

We aim to build on these results by adapting existing technology to construct novel, large-scale, biohybrid solar panels for power production. This task presents a number of unique challenges to be addressed:

1. Optimize the electrolyte solution to increase the individual cell performance.

2. Investigate alternative packaging options to promote long-term durability.

3. Overcome issues associated with connecting a large number of cells to form a large panel.

At the time, the EPA gave the university $14,999 for this project. Now comes word an additional $90,000 was given away over the weekend.

From the Washington Examiner:

President Obama recently touted algae as a potential source of energy, and now the Environmental Protection Agency has invested in converting spinach into an energy source.

The EPA awarded a $90,000 grant over the weekend to Vanderbilt University students “who designed a biohybrid solar panel that substitutes a protein from spinach for expensive silicon wafers that are energy intensive to produce, and is capable of producing electricity.

The team of engineering students — Eric Dilbone, Phil Ingram, Trevan Locke, Paul McDonald and Jason Ogg — “also won the Marketplace Innovation Award from Paladin Capital, a private equity firm, and the Student Choice Award, a special nod from their peers in competition,” according to Vanderbilt.

The idea is that “a miniature bio-cell can produce minute electricity from Photosystem I (PSI), the protein in plant chloroplasts that converts light to electrochemical energy.

They won the grant despite “nagging doubts about how the slight power from the panel would convince the judges,” one Vanderbilt professor explained.

I’m not anti-science, and certainly think we should be researching viable energy alternatives, but I have a real moral problem with the idea of substituting food for fuel.

We know the use of corn to produce ethanol has caused world wide increases in food prices over the years. Corn is a staple in diets around the world.

In 2009 the Los Angeles Times reported:

Ethanol demand may raise food costs for needy, report says

Increased use of the corn-based fuel may mean the government pays more for food stamps and other assistance programs, the Congressional Budget Office says.

WASHINGTON — The increased use of ethanol could cost the government up to $900 million for food stamps and child nutrition programs, a congressional report says.

Higher use of the corn-based fuel additive accounted for about 10% to 15% of the rise in food prices from April 2007 to April 2008, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. That translates into higher costs for food programs for the needy.

The CBO said other factors, such as skyrocketing energy costs, had an even greater effect than ethanol on food prices during that period.

Economists at the agency estimate that higher food prices will increase costs for food programs overall to about $5.3 billion in the current budget year.

Ethanol’s effect on future food prices is uncertain, the report says, because an increased supply of corn would have the potential to lower food prices.

Roughly one quarter of corn grown in the United States is used to produce ethanol, and overall consumption of ethanol in the country hit a record high last year, exceeding 9 billion gallons, according to the CBO. Nearly 3 billion bushels of corn were used to produce ethanol in the United States last year — an increase of almost a billion bushels over 2007.

The demand for ethanol was one factor that increased corn prices, leading to higher animal feed and ingredient costs for farmers, ranchers and food manufacturers.

Some of that cost is eventually passed onto consumers, since corn is used in so many food products.

Several of those affected groups have banded together to oppose tax breaks and federal mandates for the fuel. They said Thursday that the report showed the unintended consequences of ethanol.

As startling as these figures are, they do not even tell the story of the toll higher food prices have taken on working families, nor the impact higher feed prices have had on farmers in animal agriculture who have seen staggering losses and job cuts and liquidation of livestock herds,” the Grocery Manufacturers Assn., American Meat Institute, National Turkey Federation and National Council of Chain Restaurants said in a statement.

In 2011 USA Today followed with this:

Add lower-than-expected corn yields last year and, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture figures out Wednesday, U.S. reserves of field corn are at their lowest levels in 15 years. The demand for corn for ethanol is now at 4.9 billion bushels per year. Corn prices have almost doubled, from $3.49 a bushel in July to $6.10 in January. Corn futures, contracts to buy corn at a given price in the future, as of Wednesday were $6.90 a bushel.

[ …. ]

For the 1.2 billion people who make $1.25 or less a day and spend 50% to 80% of their income on food, price rises mean hunger and less money for education and health care, says Gawain Kripke of Oxfam America, an anti-poverty charity.

For Americans, there are “definitely indications that point to higher prices, but we’ve yet to see a major impact,” says Ephraim Leibtag, a USDA food economist. Meat, dairy and eggs, primarily dependent on feed prices, are “less shielded from surges in commodity prices,” he says. USDA is predicting rises in the food price index for 2011 of 3.5% to 4.5% for pork, 2.5% to 3.5% for beef, 2.5% to 3.5% for eggs and 4.5% to 5.5% for dairy.

But corn, because it’s made into high-fructose corn syrup, our most commonly used sweetener, is in many other items Americans buy as well.

Using food as a substitute for energy hurts the poorest among us, and it makes little sense.

It would be one thing if the world was out of real energy, or even if the United States was running out, but as we have reported over and over, the exact opposite is true. We have as much as 300 years worth of oil, natural gas, and coal reserves right here in the United States, and that’s if we don’t import a single drop.

Again, I’m all for research and development, but it needs to be funded by private investors, not the government.

Our government has proven time and time again that it isn’t competent enough to be handing out grants for this sort of thing.

Of course, the second problem is the United States is flat broke. We don’t have enough money coming in to even fund the basics. The last thing we should be doing is funding research such as this spinach project.

The solutions are simple. We have plenty of energy right now, enough to provide for the nation for centuries.

Instead of chasing pie in the sky dreams, that use essential foods to replace the abundant energy we have in the ground, lets get serious about developing those God given natural resources we have.

Of all of the so-called “green” energy solutions, solar has the most potential, and a proven track record of actually producing energy. Yes, it’s expensive, and only survives because of massive tax incentives, but it at least has the potential.

Cost is major issue, but using food as a solution is a non-starter. Finding a way to inexpensively amplify the energy produced by a solar panel making the need for fewer panels, for a given project, makes more sense to me.

It’s time we tell our members of Congress to stop the EPA and other government agencies from funding these projects, and allow the free markets to work.

It’s not government’s job to pick winners and losers, and besides, they have a really lousy record of trying.


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Despite Massive Fraud and Failures Obama’s Energy Department Set to Approve More “Green Energy” Loans

By Gary P Jackson

It seems like we read a new story every day about a so-called “green” energy company filing for bankruptcy, or otherwise failing to meet it’s performance goals. Few industries are so rife with corruption as the “green” sector. Why is this? Because government is involved. Corrupt politicians have teamed with unscrupulous quick buck artists to funnel local, state, and federal tax dollars directly into their bank accounts.

This is a serious criminal enterprise. So what is the Obama Department of Energy’s answer? Loan out even more of your tax dollars, of course.

From The Hill:

The Energy Department said Thursday it expects to begin tentatively approving new taxpayer-backed loans for renewable energy projects in the coming months.

The announcement comes about seven months after Solyndra, the California solar firm that received a $535 million loan guarantee from the administration in 2009, went bankrupt, setting off a firestorm in Washington.

The Department expects to begin issuing conditional commitments over the next several months after completing a rigorous internal and external review of each application,” Energy Department loan program chief David Frantz wrote to the top lawmakers on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Frantz – in the letter to committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) and ranking Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) – stressed that projects receiving loan guarantees will be “subject to a robust monitoring effort to ensure that taxpayers’ investments are protected.

He defended the loan program from GOP critics, who have alleged that the administration is wasting taxpayer money by supporting risky renewable energy projects.

By any measure, the Energy Department’s loan programs have helped the United States keep pace in the fierce global race for clean energy technologies,” Frantz wrote.

Over the past three years the loan programs have invested in some of the world’s biggest, most innovative, and most ambitious clean energy projects to date, supporting a balanced portfolio of American clean energy projects that are creating tens of thousands of jobs nationwide and are expected to provide power to nearly three million U.S. households,” he said.

[ …. ]

The news that the Energy Department will again issue renewable energy loan guarantees is certain to draw the attention of House Republicans, who are investigating the loan program.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee has spent more than a year probing the Solyndra loan guarantee, using the bankruptcy to raise broader questions about the Obama administration’s clean energy investments.

Committee Republicans have alleged that the department missed a series of red flags that hinted at Solyndra’s financial problems. And they’ve accused the administration of approving the loan to please Obama’s campaign donors, a claim the White House strongly denies.

Why is government loaning out money in the first place? Isn’t that what banks and venture capitalists are for?

These companies are going out of business almost as fast as the government makes these multi-million dollar loans and grants. It’s immoral and certainly criminal.

I don’t know when it will happen, but at some point, the America people must stand up and demand an end to all of this, and demand that those involved be held responsible. From the president on down, there must be accountability. Even if we have to build new prisons to hold them all.

The Obama regime, and the scam artists it’s funding are stealing America’s future right before our eyes.


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More Green Energy Corruption and Fail: World’s Largest Solar Power Plant Goes Bankrupt

By Gary P Jackson

One has to ask: When are we going to start putting these corrupt bastards in jail?

On Monday yet another Department of Energy funded solar energy company, the world’s largest, filed for bankruptcy. From Reuters:

Solar Trust of America LLC, which holds the development rights for the world’s largest solar power project, on Monday filed for bankruptcy protection after its majority owner began insolvency proceedings in Germany.

The Oakland-based company has held rights for the 1,000-megawatt Blythe Solar Power Project in the Southern California desert, which last April won $2.1 billion of conditional loan guarantees from the U.S. Department of Energy. It is unclear how the bankruptcy will affect that project.

Though Reuters states Solar Trust of America LLC won the loan, as the Washington Post reported in September of 2011, the CEO of the company turned the $2.1 billion loan down, because he thought it was too risky.

Uwe T. Schmidt, chief executive of Solar Trust, says he is a fan of the Energy Department’s loan-guarantee program. He met with Energy Secretary Steven Chu and the program’s director, Jonathan Silver, when his company was seeking support for a 1,000-megawatt solar thermal plant it wanted to build in the California desert in Riverside County.

But when the department offered him a $2.1 billion loan guarantee, Schmidt turned it down. It would have been one of the largest stimulus-funded clean-tech­nol­ogy projects, and Solar Trust had been negotiating the deal for roughly a year. But Schmidt decided it was too risky.

I’m now famous for getting the largest loan guarantee and then turning it down,” Schmidt said. “For very sound business reasons, we opted not to go forward.

The Obama administration’s vaunted initiative to catalyze the U.S. clean-energy industry — under attack for betting half a billion dollars on the solar-panel manufacturer Solyndra, which closed last month — has become a case study of what can go wrong when a rigid government bureaucracy tries to play venture capitalist and jump-start a nascent, fast-changing market.

Schmidt concluded in early 2011 that the influx of inexpensive flat solar panels was undercutting his company’s year-old proposal to use a field of parabolic mirrors that focus the sun’s energy to heat liquid-containing tubes. Despite market changes, however, the terms of the federal loan guarantee wouldn’t let Solar Trust switch in midstream to flat panels. So Solar Trust sought private financing.

We look at a lot of technologies, and I don’t care which one we build — I want to build the one that makes the most financial sense,” Schmidt said.

The inflexibility of the terms for Schmidt’s project was just one of the troubles that have plagued the Energy Department’s $38.5 billion loan-guarantee program from its beginning in 2009. Inundated with proposals, the small Energy Department loan office was initially overwhelmed, and companies complained that it was moving too slowly, not too quickly as has been alleged recently in the case of the now-bankrupt Solyndra.

Sounds like the tax payers dodged a bullet here. The conditions of the loan were so inflexible and insane, the CEO of the company turned the loan down. That should wake a few people up.

BTW, the company only employs nine people, according to Powerline, which also notes Solar Trust’s parent company, a German firm, stopped putting any more money into Solar Trust two years ago.

The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Delaware on Monday after majority owner Solar Millennium—now under the control of a German bankruptcy professional—stopped putting money into the company. …

The company tried to sell itself last year to another German solar-power company, Solarhybrid. Solarhybrid executives blamed the deal’s collapse on dwindling European subsidies for alternative energy.

Solar Millennium filed for Germany’s equivalent of bankruptcy in December. Amid the economic crisis, European governments are slashing programs that once made it more affordable for residents and businesses to buy expensive solar systems.

The insolvency administrator put in charge of the company’s bankruptcy case, Volker Boehm, has “ceased to provide any funding whatsoever” to the project, according to court papers.

Solar Trust was founded in 2005 by Solar Millennium and another German industrial heavyweight, Ferrostaal AG. Ferrostaal, which owns a 30% stake, stopped putting money toward Solar Trust two years ago, according to court papers.

What could better illustrate the rampant fraud or incompetence–take your pick–that besets the Obama administration? One of the owners of Solar Trust, a German “industrial heavyweight,” refused to put any more money into that company two years ago, while the Obama administration was willing to pour $2.1 billion of American tax dollars down the rathole just last year.

And even today, as the solar and wind industries collapse in a sea of unpaid bills, Barack Obama yaps on and on about how taxpayers should invest in “green energy.” The man’s economic ignorance is frankly staggering.

This is another case of the Crony Capitalism Peter Schweizer talks about in his book Throw Them All Out. According to Peter, Citigroup Global Partners and Deutsche Bank have invested $6 billion in Solar Trust’s Bylthe Solar Power Project. At the time, the vice chair of Citigroup Global Partners was Louis Susman, who was also part of Obama’s 2008 Campaign. He sat on the National Finance Committee. Susman is now the U.S. Ambassador to Britain, a nice little payoff.

Chevron is also partnered with Solar Trust and the two companies received special treatment by the Obama regime. The regime fast-tracked all of the permits needed to build this on federal land, cutting down the usual processing time considerably.

NextEra Energy Resources, another “green company, has promised to help with funding. By pure coincidence, [I’m sure] Lewis Hay, the CEO of NextEra sits on Obama’s Jobs Council. NextEra has also received multi-million dollar loans from the Obama Energy Department.

This is yet another case of the Obama regime’s corruption. Barack Obama has deliberately done everything he can to stifle oil and gas exploration in America. He successfully lobbied to defeat the Keystone Pipeline. All the while Obama has spent billions of dollars propping up so-called “green” companies, all supporters of the regime.

One of the reasons Obama and his Energy Department are doing everything they can to ensure the price of conventional energy, oil gas, and coal becomes more expensive is so these bogus “alternative” sources of energy will become economically viable, and his cronies will make big money.

This is a perfect illustration of why the government should not, and really cannot, be involved in these sort of programs. They are so ripe for corruption, and the tax payers always lose. We must demand government stop all of these programs. Politicians simply can’t be trusted.

As we are seeing more and more of these “green” companies come crashing down under mountains of debt, Americans need to wake up and understand that ideas like solar, wind, and bio-fuels simply do not work. They are not economically viable.

They have every advantage in the world too. Local, state, and federal governments all have rebates, tax breaks, or other sort of consumer incentives to help bring the costs down, and still these products make little economic sense.

Worse, not only is government propping up these companies on the consumer end, billions upon billions of dollars are shoved at these companies in the form of grants and loans. Yet, even with all of the government coddling, all of the preferential treatment, these companies are all failing, and failing big.

In the end, the American people are the losers. Not only are we paying more for conventional energy, for no other reason than to make these failed ideas look more attractive, we are losing billions in tax payer dollars, money that will never be recovered, to this scheme.

Meanwhile Obama and his cronies are making out like bandits.

We need serious reform and even more serious soul searching. We need to decide what sort of nation we really want to be.

We need to decide whether we want to restore America to the Constitutional Republic our founders created, or if we want to remain a corrupt nation that takes more and more of our Liberty and Freedom away, as corrupt politicians and their cronies steal from our treasury on a daily basis.

We must demand that Congress investigate these “green” schemes, and the Obama regime’s ties to the principles involved. Obama is not above the law, and it’s time he be held responsible. Those involved in these schemes, those who have robbed our treasury, all belong in prison. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

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Crony Socialism Run Amuck: 11 More “Solyndras” Discovered in Obama Energy Program

By Gary P Jackson

More failure from the socialist Obama regime and it’s attempt to shove unproven “green technology” down our throats. This came out on Friday, when a lot of people may not have been paying attention:

From Real Clear Politics:

CBS News’ Sharyl Attkisson takes a look at 11 more Solyndras that were part of Obama’s Energy program. Attkisson was one of the original reporters that uncovered the Solyndra scandal.

CBS News counted 12 clean energy companies that are having trouble after collectively being approved for more than $6.5 billion in federal assistance. Five have filed for bankruptcy: The junk bond-rated Beacon, Evergreen Solar, SpectraWatt, AES’ subsidiary Eastern Energy and Solyndra.

According to CBS News, Beacon Power, a “green energy storage company,” received $43 million from the government. Standard and Poor’s had given the project a rating of “CCC-plus.”

Lots of hard earned taxpayer dollars thrown at companies tied to the Obama regime. This rush to fund non-viable “green” energy companies is insane.

None of these technologies are commercially viable. If the government wasn’t subsidizing them through loan guarantees [and outright grants] as well as huge tax breaks for end users, there would be no way any “green” company could survive.

This should anger every American.

I’m for clean energy, and finding alternatives, but at a time our debt is 105% of our yearly GDP we have no business funding any of this nonsense. Of course, even in good times government has no business picking winners and losers. I could see government funding a modest amount of research, but actually funding companies? No way.

It’s time government get out of the way of all businesses. It’s time government get out of the business of funding businesses. It’s time government gets out of the business of subsidizing or otherwise incentivising any business or product. It’s time government allow the free market to work.

It’s also time we start sending people, be they politicians, or their cronies, to prison for a very long time.

You might also want to read More Misadventures in Ethanol Production

A little dedication to all of the “green” con artists bilking the taxpayers out of their hard earned money. This should be their official theme song. A love song to the government stooges who hand out your money …. well…. like candy!


Filed under In The News, Politics

More Misadventures in Ethanol Production

By Gary P Jackson

Billions are wasted on pie-in-the-sky “green” ideas that don’t really do anything for the environment. In fact, in almost every case, there is net harm to the environment.

This is a story out of Georgia about an effort to create ethanol from cellulose fibers, like wood. It’s the very definition of government waste and massive failure.

Many of our nation’s leaders believe global warming is real. That alone should scare every living, breathing human being. Worse, these government officials actually think man has the power to do something about this fictional condition. Hence, billions of dollars are being thrown at companies to create “solutions” to a problem that doesn’t exist.

None of these “solutions” are comercially viable, so not only does the government have to push billions at them to help start the processes, government must continually prop them up with either direct “loans” or subsidies. Meanwhile, as these businesses fail, the principles make out quite well.

This is crony socialism at it’s finest.

Ethanol is a junk fuel that creates more net pollution than it displaces. Untold billions have been thrown away while pursuing this massive failure.

If these so-called “greens” were serious about viable low emissions, zero emissions fuels, we’d be making an effort to convert America’s fleet over to natural gas. It’s clean, cheap, and the technology is mature and proven.

Every American automobile manufacturer already offers vehicles that run on compressed natural gas. [CNG] They also offer duel fuel vehicles that are capable of running on either CNG or conventional gasoline. With modern engine controllers, direct fuel injection, and other improvements in engine efficiency, the times couldn’t be better for CNG powered cars. Diesel powered cars and trucks do especially well when converted to run on CNG.

Most cities and towns have natural gas service. It would be easy to install fueling stations at locations already selling gasoline. Though expensive, for now, several companies manufacture machines that compress the natural gas so you can fill your car up at home. [provided you have natural gas service]

Natural gas burns clean. There is little or no carbon build-up inside the engine, which means little contamination of the oil. With no carbon bits running through the oil, there is little wear on internal components, so the life of the engine in greatly increased.

Natural gas is as close to a perfect motorfuel as it gets, and we got a lot of it. I.67 quadrillion cubic feet in the Arctic alone. It’s a no brainer, and yet, we wasted billions on “alternative” fuels that are going nowhere.

I’m not saying scientists shouldn’t explore new energy sources. What I am saying is that these new sources should not only be proven to work, but their commercial viability [without government loans and subsidies] must be proven before any loan guarantees are allowed.

Instead of using common sense, and good business practices, thanks to government, we have misadventures such as this:

Ethanol ventures backed by billionaire entrepreneur Vinod Khosla — including Range Fuels, which built a failed factory in Georgia — were given the green light for an estimated $600 million in federal and state subsidies, according to an analysis by The Atlanta Journal- Constitution.

Yet none of the dozen or so companies financed or controlled by Khosla over the last decade has produced commercially viable ethanol. Some failed or, hamstrung by unproven technology and insufficient capital, remain behind schedule. Others bet on new technologies.

To date, the companies have tapped about $250 million of the $600 million. Even though they are now unlikely to ever receive the full amounts, tens of millions have been lost.

Range Fuels was approved for $162 million in grants, loans and loan guarantees for the Georgia venture. Half that amount was disbursed — and lost by taxpayers — for the cellulosic ethanol plant, now idle, in the east Georgia town of Soperton.

This month, the AJC reported that the plant was sold for just $5.1 million to another Khosla-backed company. For this story, the newspaper scoured regulatory filings, government reports, company websites and news articles to arrive at the total figure in federal and state subsidies offered to renewable energy ventures backed by Khosla’s firm.

No one alleges wrongdoing by Khosla or his companies.

Khosla declined to be interviewed for this story. In a ?February 2011 letter to The ?Wall Street Journal, though, Khosla said entrepreneurs ?deserve praise for their search for new, cleaner, safer technologies.

Range’s original formulation may not have been successful, but such risk-taking deserves applause, not derision,” Khosla, who helped start Sun Microsystems, wrote. “In the end, success is never assured.

The government subsidy pledges underscore Washington’s rush the past decade to build an industry around cellulosic ethanol — derived from wood, as opposed to the corn used in most ethanol — from scratch. They also point up the power and the promise that savvy entrepreneurs like Khosla hold over the nascent industry upon which great economic hopes ride.

Federal and state officials say they adequately scrutinized Khosla’s plans before public money was pledged. And Khosla himself has plowed tens of millions of dollars from his own venture capital firm into cellulosic ethanol companies scattered from Georgia to California. In addition, a handful of initial stock offerings the past two years have raised hundreds of millions more from investors.

Information included with the stock offerings, though, underscores the risk that investors — and taxpayers — face when bankrolling an unproven industry that hopes to one day wean America from its dependence on imported oil.

In its September 2011 initial public offering, the Mascoma Corp., a Khosla-backed company expecting to build an ethanol plant in Michigan, warned potential investors that “we have a limited operating history, a history of losses and the expectation of continuing losses … and we have no experience in the markets in which we intend to operate.”

Companies are required to list risks in regulatory filings prior to an offering. Mascoma also said government grants comprised 86 percent of its revenue.

Robert Rapier, a chemical engineer whose R-Squared blog is widely read by energy industry watchers, and other critics, including Sam Shelton, who ?directs research at Georgia Tech’s Strategic Energy Institute, liken the Range Fuels fiasco to California solar power company Solyndra. It received $535 million in government-backed loans before closing and filing for bankruptcy last August.

He’s wasting tax dollars, which I find very offensive,” said Rapier. “More importantly, the whole renewable energy sector is tarred with the failures of Range Fuels and Solyndra. They’ve really given the industry a black eye.”

Matt Hartwig, spokesman for the Renewable Fuels Association in Washington, said the federal and state subsidies for Khosla’s ethanol ventures will end up as money well spent.

It sure sounds like a lot of money — and it is — particularly to an industry trying to get off the ground and succeed,” he said. “But it’s a pittance compared to what we spend on very mature and very profitable technologies like oil extraction that still benefits from billions of dollars each year in taxpayer largesse. There is absolutely a role for the federal government to play in advancing new technologies.”

In Washington, successive administrations have touted ethanol as an environmentally benign solution for America’s dependence on foreign oil. Most ethanol is produced from corn and blended with gasoline. Its production too is subsidized, as are other forms of energy like coal and oil.

Cellulosic ethanol offers the promise of transforming timber, grasses and other renewable biomass into fuel. Proponents say its production won’t drive up food prices or pollute as much as corn-based ethanol. Georgia, with 24 million wooded acres, jumped at the chance to lead the nation’s cellulosic bandwagon.

But nobody, including Khosla, has yet turned cellulosic’s promise into profit.

Cellulosic dreams

Khosla “grew up dreaming of being an entrepreneur,” according to his bio on the Khosla Ventures website. As a young man, he emigrated from India to the United States, earning a master’s degree from Carnegie Mellon and an MBA from Stanford in 1980. He helped found computer giant Sun Microsystems two years later.

In 1986, Khosla joined venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. In 2004, he started Khosla Ventures in Menlo Park, Calif., which focuses on next-generation energy, new materials, mobility, the Internet and silicon technology. Khosla’s “cleantech” portfolio includes eight renewable energy companies targeting America’s reliance on environmentally damaging hydrocarbons.

Range Fuels, based in Colorado, is no longer on the list.

In February 2007, Khosla announced that Range planned the nation’s first cellulosic ethanol factory in Soperton.

We need to declare a war on oil,” Khosla said during the groundbreaking ceremony a few months later. “Cellulosic ethanol is the weapon we need.

Range Fuels hinted at building a dozen cellulosic ethanol factories across Georgia. Then-Gov. Sonny Perdue and other officials were smitten, and the state ponied up $6.2 million for Range.

The Bush administration’s Energy Department kicked in a $76 million grant. The U.S. Department of Agriculture added an $80 million loan guarantee.

In all, taxpayers were on the hook for $162.2 million. Range ultimately tapped, and taxpayers lost, $82 million of that amount after the company went bankrupt last year.

The Range factory was sold earlier this month to LanzaTech, a New Zealand bio-fuel company, for $5.1 million. LanzaTech’s key investor: Khosla. The company has received $7 million from the U.S. departments of energy and transportation to develop alternative jet fuels using cellulosic ethanol.

Khosla said LanzaTech has the right technology to finish what Range started. Whatever the outcome, it’s clear Khosla has perfected the science of raising money, both public and private, for his myriad alternative energy ventures.

The Khosla-backed companies have tapped a variety of public money pools — USDA loan guarantees, Energy Department grants, state-backed bonds and rural development grants — to raise the estimated $600 million available to it?for research, development ?and construction of ethanol plants.

The energy department, for example, offered as much as $100 million to New Hampshire-based Mascoma for cellulosic ethanol research and development as well as construction of a factory in Michigan. The state of Michigan chipped in another $23.5 million.

The state of New York granted Mascoma as much as $14.8 million for the construction of a biomass demonstration plant in Rochester. And the BioEnergy Science Center in Tennessee chipped in another $6.3 million for Mascoma research.

Coskata, another bio-fuel company whose No. 1 stockholder is Khosla Funds, was originally offered a $250 million (later reduced to $87.5 million) USDA loan guarantee for the construction of a cellulosic ethanol plant in Boligee, Ala.

Venture socialists?

These, quote, venture capitalists are basically venture socialists,” said Kenneth Green, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington. “They’re getting large amounts of research money and loan guarantees to build pilot plants and other projects. They’re looking to socialize the costs of their efforts, but keep private the profits.”

Washington officials defend subsidies intended to build a new industry.

Investments in biofuels technologies are supporting cutting-edge research and development projects that can help bring down the cost of bio-fuels production and boost their availability in the marketplace, which is why these types of projects have received broad bipartisan support,” said Jen Stutsman, a spokeswoman for the Energy Department.

Last week, at the AJC’s request, the agency released an accounting of the federal subsidies offered and accepted by Range Fuels and the eight ethanol companies currently listed on Khosla Venture’s ethanol portfolio. In all, the companies have so far received $97.5 million.

The USDA also released a compilation of grants, loans and loan guarantees utilized by Khosla’s companies. They total $41.8 million. Khosla’s companies remain eligible for tens of millions of additional dollars from the agriculture and energy departments.

States including Georgia, Ohio, New York, California and Mississippi have also chipped in at least $130 million in grants, loans and loan guarantees.

Other than Range Fuels, the Khosla-backed companies remain in various stages of operation, though none has produced ethanol for sale. The main stumbling block: scientists have yet to perfect the technology that transforms woody biomass into a gas that can be converted into ethanol.

Show me one company that’s producing energy commercially. There’s not a one,” said Rapier. “I don’t see any companies in his portfolio … that really have a chance to go head-to-head with oil. And the government should’ve said, ‘Show me this in a lab before I fund all of this.

Read more here.

What leaves me almost speechless is the fact Khosla’s companies are still eligible for loans, grants, and subsidies. This guy is a proven failure, and yet, because he’s chose to use the global warming scam as the basis for his own scam, our government will likely continue allowing him to steal tax payer money.

As I have said before. There should be one universal question asked of all politicians and government employees. If they believe global warming is real, they should be disqualified from working in government, and seeking elected office. They are too stupid and too dangerous to be allowed to have a say in policy that effects other people’s lives.

If we are actually going to throw money around, ponder, for a minute, how much better the money wasted on ethanol production could have been put to use helping retailers install CNG fueling stations. Think about how much closer that would bring the United States to actual energy independence.

Natural gas, as a motorfuel, is already proven technology, and is absolutely commercially viable. We should demand lawmakers stop wasting our money propping up failure, and instead support a real winner. CNG.

Every time I see people attacking oil [gasoline and diesel] as a motorfuel, and promoting some half-baked scheme to replace it, I am reminded of the artificial oil shortages of the Carter era, and this song from The Kinks:

The more things change, the more they stay the same. We’re no closer to real energy independence than we were under the Peanut Farmer’s regime.

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President Obama Says, “Drill, Baby, Drill”…in Portuguese; Updated

by Whitney Pitcher

Yesterday, President Obama spoke to a group of business leaders in Brazil regarding the economic partnerships that could be made between the two countries. One such partnership is in the area of energy:

The second place we want to partner with Brazil is on the issue of energy, which is why President Rousseff and I also agreed to launch a Strategic Energy Dialogue. By some estimates, the oil you recently discovered off the shores of Brazil could amount to twice the reserves we have in the United States. We want to work with you. We want to help with technology and support to develop these oil reserves safely, and when you’re ready to start selling, we want to be one of your best customers. At a time when we’ve been reminded how easily instability in other parts of the world can affect the price of oil, the United States could not be happier with the potential for a new, stable source of energy.

It’s interesting that President Obama wants to say, “drill, baby, drill”… but perhaps only in Portuguese. In fact, as GatewayPundit highlighted on Friday, President Obama praised Brazil’s offshore drilling industry, while at the same time he imposed an offshore drilling moratorium in the Gulf. To date, only three deepwater leases have been issued since the moratorium was quasi-lifted. All three of these leases have been given to oil companies to re-start and/or complete projects that had been started prior to the Gulf oil spill last Spring,not to begin new drilling. In a recent Facebook post, Governor Palin highlighted that the Obama administration’s moratorium has forced companies to move rigs out of the Gulf and off the shores of other countries:

Exhibit A: His drilling moratorium. Guided by politics and pure emotion following the Gulf spill instead of peer-reviewed science or defensible law, the President used the power of his executive order to impose a deepwater drilling moratorium. The Administration even ignored a court order halting his moratorium. And what is the net result of the President’s (in)actions? A large drilling company was forced to declare bankruptcy, the economy of the region has been hobbled, and at least 7 rigs moved out of the Gulf area to other parts of the world while many others remain idle. Is it any surprise that oil production in the Gulf of Mexico is expected to fall by 240,000 bbl/d in 2011 alone?

But that’s just the Gulf. There’s also the question of a moratorium on the development of Alaska’s Outer Continental Shelf. It seems the Obama Administration can’t agree with itself on whether it imposed a moratorium there or not. The White House claims that they didn’t, but their own Department of the Interior let slip that they did. To clear up this mess, Gov. Parnell decided to sue the DOI to get a solid answer because such a federal OCS drilling moratorium would violate federal law.

So while President Obama is doing everything he can to block drilling in the U.S., even to the point of contempt, he says that America wants to work with Brazil to develop their oil. However, as Governor Palin wrote in August of 2009, we already have helped Brazil developed their oil. The U.S. government sent $2 billion to fund state run (and Soros associated) Petrobas:

So why is it that during these tough times, when we have great needs at home, the Obama White House is prepared to send more than two billion of your hard-earned tax dollars to Brazil so that the nation’s state-owned oil company, Petrobras, can drill off shore and create jobs developing its own resources? That’s all Americans want; but such rational energy development has been continually thwarted by rabid environmentalists, faceless bureaucrats and a seemingly endless parade of lawsuits aimed at shutting down new energy projects.

President Obama states that America would be one of Brazil’s “best customers” of Brazilian oil and that we would welcome this stable source of oil. Governor Palin, on the other hand, firmly supports an energy strategy where America is both the producer and consumer of our own oil. President Obama points to Brazil’s vast resources of oil, but he ignores the massive amounts of oil in the Gulf of Mexico in addition to the vast resources in Alaska, Texas, North Dakota, and various formations through the United States. There are 90 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil in the Arctic alone! As Governor Palin so often emphasizes tapping into these resources would provide energy, jobs, and national security–something that drilling done in instable regions in the Middle East and even friendly countries like Brazil would not do.

President Obama also praised Brazil for their clean energy technology and discussed the partnership that Brazil can have with the U.S. saying, ” …we know that the development of clean energy is one of the best ways to create new jobs and industries in both our nations”. While President Obama was making the false claim of the economic boost of green energy yesterday, Governor Palin spoke of the failures of green energy initiatives during her speech in India:

So as government locks up land & we lose good jobs in the ‘Conventional Resource’ arena, you may hear that “green jobs” will be the saviour! But look around the world & try telling that to the thousands of English & Scottish workers who’ve lost jobs as a result of government investments in “green energy” projects. A recent UK study shows that for every “green job” created, nearly four jobs were lost elsewhere in the economy due to lack of affordable energy! Same story in Spain – investment in “green jobs” brought massive debt, skyrocketing energy costs & 20% unemployment.

This push for ‘green’ at the expense of ‘conventional, reliable’ sources is not a credible energy policy or economic policy. It’s “Social Engineering” by Central Government Planners. And it leads to nothing but more debt & more job loss. And taxpayers will be stuck subsidizing the failure and paying more for energy.

President Obama shows himself to be on the wrong side of the issues of energy yet again. When he promotes development of fossil fuels, he does so in foreign countries where companies cannot create American jobs. When he promotes energy initiatives in America or in partnerships with other nations, they are initiatives that have proven to kill jobs and increase both energy costs and national debt. Governor Palin continues to be on the right side of this vital issue that links America’s energy, economic, monetary, and national securities.

UPDATE: Not only did the Obama administration give Petrobas $2 billion in funding to drill off shore in Brazil, they have also now given Petrobas approval to drill in the Gulf. While this may provide some jobs in the Gulf, it also proves to be another case of the pervasive crony capitalism and questionable associations of this administration. (H/T Tammy Bruce)


Filed under sarah palin